101 Tips for Families – Tip #69

Tip # 69 – Deployment Packages

I sent treats over to my husband in Afghanistan only to discover that the chocolate had been crushed (of course package ripped open) and then had melted in the heat – it went all over pictures and letters.   The shampoo I sent cracked and poured out on everything so I am definitely not perfect in this department either!  I really believe the package doesn’t have to be fancy or filled with expensive things the most valuable thing you will send is letters, cards and photos that share what is happening in your lives and how much your loved one is missed.  I get the most emails with questions about sending packages.  Here are my tips and suggestions.

Package Tips:

* Before the member leaves ask them what they think they will need and, if you can, send it before they leave – they may get it in their first couple of days there which can be a real shock and tough for them and your package could be the bright spot

* In the first phone call or email – ask them what they want more of or would like sent over that they hadn’t realized that they would need/want

* Don’t mix things all in one box (chocolate with shampoo) and make sure that you know all of the items that you have placed in the box (if you do not have the customs forms and mailing forms in advance make a list as you are putting the items in so that you can take it with you and fill it out appropriately)

* Send non-perishable food items (should have at least a 30day shelf life) and non-pressurized items (I think of those as anything that doesn’t spray)

* Use a padded envelope or strong box depending on what you are sending.  Many packages are going to piled on top of yours which means there are could be 100’s of pounds on top of your box or envelope so make sure it isn’t something breakable/fragile

* Remember that the person you are sending your package to may not get it when it arrives (might not be in the immediate area or in calf) and that it could be sitting unopened for awhile

* If you are sending anything electronic make sure that you take out the battery and pack it put of the item – things can get turned on in the package and then the battery drains.  It can be impossible or costly to get new batteries for certain items

* Some helpful links:  http://www.anysoldier.com/HowToSend.cfmhttp://www.cfpsa.com/en/psp/mil/sending_e.asp , http://www.usps.com/supportingourtroops/welcome.htm

* If it is special or unique or you definitely want it back make copies of it or don’t send it

For more information about our tips, resources and books go to: http://www.whileyouwereaway.org

To submit a tip of your own write to: Megan@whileyouwereaway.org

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4 Responses

  1. I use ziplock freezer baggies and tape the lids for things like shampoo shut with clear packing tape. I double bag anything that I think might leak. Don’t mix food and hygiene in the same box. Of course, if the box gets a few 100#’s of other stuff dropped on it , it’s going to leak no matter what you do!
    Tape all of the seams shut and wrap additional tape around the box for reinforcement. Tape over the label completely, so if it gets wet, it will still be readable.
    Hope and pray it gets there intact and soon….

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